Living or surviving: reflections on Central America

As the wars in Central America have subsided, the region is undergoing extensive and far-reaching changes in its economies, and in the role of the State, in particular in the growth of the maquila (assembly plant) industry, and the reduction of the public sector. However, poverty has increased, and has been associated with high levels of violence and delinquency, as well as with a decline in food security. The challenge facing the social forces within the region, as well as NGOs such as Oxfam, is to develop a self-sustaining alternative, while also responding to the needs of the present.